StarWars A couple of months ago, I wrote a pair of articles in which I addressed some of the issues raised in the “Star Wars on Trial” book by Benbella Books. I admittedly hadn’t read the book at the time but was wading into the debates in advance. Since then, I’ve finally gotten around to reading the actual "Star Wars on Trial" book and I wanted to share my thoughts about both the book and the arguments contained within it.

Opening Statement for the Prosecution by David Brin

I was honestly hoping for something better, even from the side I knew I was unlikely to agree with. I had three major grievances with Brin's article. One, too much of his argument was "Star Wars isn't Star Trek." Two, too much of his argument depended on his own logical assumptions, rather than conclusions from facts. For example, Brin argued that Yoda ordered the clone army in the first place and used that action- which is purely conjecture on Brin's part- to prove that Yoda is a manipulative, evil jerk. My third grievance is one I air against most critics of the later Star Wars films: the main problem isn't that the films got bad, but that you got old. I'm not saying that the later films are free from flaws. I'm saying that people who were kids for the first movie were teenagers for the third one- and teenagers for the first movie were adults for the third one- and they were more likely to notice flaws and less likely to be forgiving of them. So when Brin starts in on supposed plot holes in Return of the Jedi, I have to shake my head. Fans of the first Star Wars film have invented drinking games in which they make fun of silly things like Luke's whining or they've written spoofs in which Tarkin blows up the planet of Yavin so that he can get to the moonbase faster. But those "flaws" are embraced in the glow of nostalgia while the even the invented flaws of later films (why didn't Luke threaten Jabba with a Republic cruiser?) are considered grounds for rejection.

Opening Statement for the Defense by Matthew Woodring Stover

TNG169 I was as disappointed with the argument for the defense as I was with the argument for the prosecution. I was really hoping that each side would bring their “A” game but I found myself disagreeing with each side more than agreeing with them. I was glad that Stover addressed two of the flaws I felt existed in Brin’s argument. Star Trek isn’t this bastion of egalitarianism compared to Star Wars. Sure, some plucky crew member could rise up to save the day (as Barkley famously did in The Next Generation). But they’re more likely to be killed off as cannon fodder. As Stover noted, there’s a reason why the sci-fi community has developed the term “red-shirt.” And, as I thought, there’s a reason why Barkley is so well-regarded- he’s unique in his position of “random guy saves the day.” Stover also challenged Brin for arguing from his assumptions rather than the facts on display. Indeed, the heart of Stover’s argument was okay: in order to effectively prosecute his case, Brin would need to convince us that his one narrow interpretation is the only valid interpretation of the events. Any reasonable doubt on that regard would acquit Star Wars of most of the charges. Unfortunately, Stover overstated his defense, pretty much claiming that all truth is relative. I’m familiar with that position, but it’s not a wise one to take. Sure, there may be multiple valid interpretations of the facts. But interpretations that don’t conform to the facts are less valid than those that do. And Stover loses the basis to challenge Brin on the places where Brin’s interpretation doesn’t conform to the facts. You can’t say “all interpretations are equally valid” and “some interpretations are better than others” at the same time. However, my biggest complaint with Stover’s defense is that he too often falls into ad hominen attacks. This is true already in his opening statement and just gets worse in the courtroom scene interludes. I suspect Stover is trying to be humorous or entertaining (like the Comics Buyer’s Guide reviewers) but it comes off as annoying (like the Comics Buyer’s Guide reviewers) and makes his position look weaker because he has to resort to insults instead of arguments.

Charge #1: The Politics of Star Wars are Anti-Democratic and Elitist

Witness for the Defense

The Madness of King George by Keith R.A. DeCandido

DeCandido steps in to defend Star Wars against the charges of being elitist, as argued in David Brin’s opening statement. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed by his defense either. His argument rested too much on the supposed allegorical nature of Revenge of the Sith. He claimed that it was a direct and intentional criticism of President Bush, a claim with which not all Star Wars supporters agree. Even if it is the allegory DeCandido claims, that doesn’t refute all of Brin’s charges. An elitist could have opposed Bush’s war.

Charge #2: While Claiming Mythic Significant, Star Wars Portrays No Admirable Religious or Ethical Beliefs

Witness for the Prosecution

May the Midichlorians Be with You by John C. Wight

Finally, an article that I thought was very well done. Wight gets to argue that the Jedi do not portray any admirable religious and ethical beliefs. His argument is that the code of the Jedi is not a well-conceived religious system or order. It’s just a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo tossed around to add spiritual ambiance to an ambitious boy’s adventure story. It’s Way Cool. But it’s not way deep. And it’s occasionally inconsistent and contradictory because it’s often used as a convenient plot device instead of a stalwart ethical doctrine. Witty and well-done, I thought Wight’s entry was the best so far.

Witness for the Defense

The Son of Skywalker Must Not Become a Jackass by Scott Lynch

I’m going to call this one for the prosecution. Lynch actually starts out with a very good case. Using himself as an example, he notes the many young men and women who were inspired towards virtue because of the Star Wars films. They valued honor and courage and self-sacrifice. And they became soldiers or fire fighters because of it. How can you say that Star Wars has no admirable ethical beliefs when it so obviously inspired so many people to live admirable ethical lives? Unfortunately, Lynch didn’t stop there. He moved on to defending the series as a whole, but was willing to stipulate way too much to the prosecution. I would have preferred to see some of those other points defended (as Matthew Stover noted in his opening defense, there’s a difference between being mistaken and being evil).

At this point, I want to interrupt my strict linear progression to deal with some side issues. I have to say that, despite my complaints about the qualities of many of the individual articles, I have greatly enjoyed reading this book. It’s intellectually stimulating. It’s fun to think about pop culture in this way and argue about it. In fact, I agree with David Brin on this point as he said as much in his introduction. Even those who are arguing against Star Wars care about it enough to have thYoda ought deeply about it and spent time writing these articles. It is a labor of love on both sides.

Yet, alongside my admiration, I do hold criticisms against both sides. These criticisms are raised not only by the opening arguments, but also by the courtroom sides that are interspersed between the main articles. I think that David Brin, representing the prosecution, doesn’t deal fully with the inconsistencies of human affection. He’s constantly calling Yoda “an evil, little muppet” and amazed that people are so fond of him. Yet I don’t find this so amazing at all in part because I can think of a real-world parallel. One of the major problems with the Jedi Order of the Old Republic was the insistence on celibacy and detachment. This led to Anakin’s downfall. But Lucas didn’t pull the concept of celibacy and detachment out of thin air. It’s based on the knightly orders of the past and priestly orders of the present- including that of the Roman Catholic Church and Buddhist temples. We can argue about the wisdom of those requirements (as occurs whenever there’s a sex scandal involving a Catholic priest). Yet even those who disagree can have respect and admiration for the leaders of these orders. Pope John Paul II was well loved. The Dalai Lama is still loved. Yoda is on that plane, albeit as a fictional character. We can disagree with some of the requirements of his order that he inherited and continues to enforce yet still respect, admire and love him.

As for the defense, I noticed something peculiar, especially in terms of Matthew Stover’s interjections. Stover has written several Star Wars novels, including a film adaptation and entries into the New Jedi Order series. And he often refers to material outside of the films as part of his defense: not only personal conversations with George Lucas, but also film novelizations and books of the extended universe. But the fact that the novels occasionally run counter to the films goes a long way towards proving the prosecution’s points. In other words, the novelists have noticed the same flaws and have worked to address them or even correct them in print. That shows that even the novelists think the flaws existed in the first place.

Charge #3: Star Wars Novels are Poor Substitutes for Real Science Fiction and are Driving Real Science Fiction Off the Shelves

Witness for the Prosecution

Novels, Novelizations and Tie-ins, Oh My by Lou Anders

This is the argument which I countered in my earlier article. Still not convinced. Oh, I agree with Anders that working on a tie-in novel can teach a novelist bad habits. I’ve complained in the past about certain flaws that seem unique to licensed properties. I won’t defend every Star Wars novel (there have been a few that I didn’t bother to finish). But those apparent flaws can also be seen as challenges and when a writer rises to meet those challenges, Star Wars novels can be excellent. It’s a false dichotomy to claim “original science fiction=good/Star Wars novels=bad.” There are good and bad examples of both.

Witnesses for the Defense

Are Brain-Dead Chimpanzees Eating My Shelf Space? by Laura Resnick

Driving GFFA 1 or How Star Wars Loosened My Corset by Karen Traviss

Barbarian Confessions by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I’m really impressed by the defense on this charge. Editor Matthew Stover wisely breaks the charge into three sub-sections and allows three different authors to respond in different ways. Resnick tackles the idea that Star Wars novels are driving real science fiction off the shelf. She comes at the argument from a publishers and booksellers perspective. Shelf space is allotted by earnings. Serious science fiction isn’t fighting for shelf space against Star Wars novels. They’re fighting for shelf space against romance novels and biographies and historical fiction. If Star Wars novels weren’t published, their shelf space would be given to other things that sell well. If advocates of so-called serious science fiction want more shelf space, they have to earn it the old-fashioned way: by connecting to the public and selling books in large numbers. Resnick also pokes a hole in the theory that all of these Star Wars aficionados would be buying “serious” science-fiction if Star Wars novels didn’t exist. The theory doesn’t hold water.

Traviss comes at the argument from the writer’s perspective. She was a hard science fiction writer with a military background. She focused on the technical side of things. Real science. Real mechanics. Real technology. And then Star Wars asked her to write a novel for them. She accepted. And she discovered that writing a licensed novel didn’t teach her laziness. Rather, it gave her freedom. The technology has been established, even if it’s often more magical than scientific. That allowed her to do other things like explore characters and ask deep questions about the human condition. The result is that her creator-owned science-fiction improved as well- as so many fans told her. She became a better writer because of Star Wars, not a lazy one.

Rusch addressed the argument from the angle of the fan. She acknowledges that she’s a writer now (she writes romance novels under another pseudonym as well as science fiction) but she started out as a fan. She noted that before Star Wars, science fiction was a closed community. It was possible to read every science fiction book published in a year. And the writers, critics and fans all seemed to know each other. There were even inside agreements about not writing on the same subject (“I can’t write about robotics as that’s Asimov’s turf”). But Star Wars broke down the gates. Suddenly, millions of fans were discovering science fiction, including a young Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Science-fiction publishing had to expand in order to meet this massive surge in interest. Sure, some of the old fans and old critics bemoan the loss of their “boy’s club” but that sounds more like petty jealousy than anything else. Science fiction was elevated out of its niche and to the level of other genres. One of the things that I really liked about Rusch’s response is the way that it turned David Brin’s opening argument against itself. Brin accused Star Wars of teaching elitism. But Rusch accused the science fiction community itself of being elitist and not welcoming the new fans who entered the genre.

Charge #4: Science Fiction Filmmaking Has Been Reduced by Star Wars to Poorly Written Special Effects Extravaganzas

Witness for the Prosecution

Millions for Special Effects, Not One Cent for Writers by John G. Hemry

Hemry gets to argue that science fiction filmmaking has been reduced to poorly written special effects extravaganzas because of Star Wars. Hemry is willing to give a pass to the original trilogy. You can’t blame George Lucas that so many people learned the wrong thing from his movies. You can’t fault him for “Buck Rogers” or “Battlestar Galactica” (the original). But you can blame Lucas for the faults of the prequel trilogy. The blame for the bad writing and bad acting in those movies lies squarely at the feet of Lucas. It’s an interesting article, but faulty on several levels. First of all, Hemry was supposed to argue that you can blame Star Wars for its host of inferior imitators. After all, that’s the actual charge. Instead, he dispenses with the charge and goes off on an unrelated rant against the prequels. I won’t argue that the prequels are consistently well-written or well-acted. But then, neither was the original movie. Lucas was always better at working with special effects than with people. That’s why experienced actors would shine (Alec Guinness or Christopher Lee) while inexperienced actors would falter (Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen). That’s why actresses like Carrie Fisher still complain about a lack of directorial direction and actors like Harrison Ford about unspeakable lines (“you can write this stuff but you sure can’t say it!”). But if the issue is Star Wars’ supposedly negative influence on other movies, then any mention of the prequels is irrelevant. After all, the influence of the prequels on movie making is negligible. Hemry proved he didn’t like the prequels. He didn’t prove the charge.

Witness for the Defense

Good. Bad. I’m the Guy with the Lightsaber. by Bruce Bethke

This has got to be one of my favorite articles in the entire book. Bethke deftly refutes the charge while also introducing a new idea that the charge doesn’t cover. He demonstrates that there was good science fiction and bad science both before and after Star Wars. Star Wars neither ushered in a new golden age of science fiction movies nor destroyed a pre-existing one. He demonstrates that plenty of science fiction movies focused on special effects, or at least won Academy Awards for their special effects, before Star Wars. So that’s not something entirely new either. It isn’t that Star Wars changed science fiction so much as that Star Wars changed movies. The most incredible thing that George Lucas did in Star Wars is that he re-introduced the hero. Science fiction movies of the early to mid-’70s were dystopic, depressing affairs. Star Wars brought “a new hope,” a return of the hero. And that’s something worth doing, recognizing and celebrating.

Charge #5: Star Wars Has Dumbed Down the Perception of Science Fiction in the Popular Imagination

Witness for the Prosecution

It’s All in the Numbers by Tanya Huff

The accusation here is that Star Wars has given the public a poor perception of science fiction. Huff nicely uses her own story to illustrate the point. When she attended a science-fiction convention in 1978, she was complimented by a border guard. When she attended another convention more recently, she was treated dismissively and even derisively by an airline ticket agent. Part of the problem is that she places the blame squarely on Star Wars (Star Trek and its legion of costumed Klingon shares as much of the blame). The bigger problem is that she reminisces for glory days that never existed. She holds on to the belief that science fiction was just about to gain critical credibility before Star Wars.

Witness for the Defense

On Not Flying Solo in Hyperspace by Richard Garfinkle

This isn’t one of my favorite articles. Garfinkle makes a half-hearted defense. He does note that the popularity of Star Wars and Star Trek make it easier to be a science fiction writer. Before those properties became so well-known, a writer had to explain a lot of the technology in his book. Now, people know what is meant by “hyperspace” or “teleporting.” The writer can jump right into the story, with minimal explanation, and can even work against expectations by explaining how hyperspace travel or teleportation doesn’t work or works differently in this world. Unfortunately, Garfinkle keeps going. He also argues that since Star Wars is all about special effects, the science fiction writer is freed to ignore visuals, effects and spectacle. Garfinkle actually does a better job of trashing Star Wars as a special effects movie than John Hemry did in his prosecution article.

Charge #6: Star Wars Pretends to be Science Fiction, but is Really Fantasy

Witness for the Prosecution

Star Wars: Fantasy, Not Science Fiction by Ken Wharton

N2565 I was prepared to dislike this article because I was pretty sure I disagreed with it heading in. After all, I wrote an article for the other side only a couple of months ago. But I ended up being impressed. Wharton made a distinction between science fiction and fantasy based on two simple words. Science fiction asks “Why?” Why does something work? Fantasy answers with “Because.” Magic works because the author says it works. The distinction wasn’t about ideas as much as intellectual curiosity. I still disagree. I think that Wharton was too narrow in his understanding of the question “Why?” It’s not always a scientific, technical question. It can be a philosophical or moral question as well. Why do people act the way they do? I would argue those are also the more important questions. And good fantasy is as capable of addressing those questions as science fiction. Furthermore, even the best science fiction occasionally ends up with or at least includes the answer “Because.” Larry Niven may explore the technical intricacies of the Ringworld, but he pretty much skips over any explanation of interstellar light travel. Yet while I wasn’t won over to the other side of the debate, I was at least impressed by the quality of the argument.

Witness for the Defense

The Kessel Run by Robert A. Metzger

Wow. This was arguably the worst article in the entire book. Metzger basically argues that the world isn’t real- we’re living in someone else’s simulation- and the inconsistencies in Star Wars are clues to that fundamental truth. He explicitly says that he’s not talking about the Matrix because he found the “humans are living batteries” hypothesis to be ridiculous, but his argument is pretty much “we’re living in the Matrix.” I’m not sure he really believes it (I think he’s just trying to be funny) but it’s a pretty worthless argument either way. The one thing that Metzger has in his favor is that he at least points out that some of the accusations leveled against Star Wars are science fiction standards and it’s unfair to single out Star Wars (such as the complaint about hyperspace and faster-than-light-speed travel which even respected science fiction writers like Larry Niven have simply accepted so that they could tell interstellar stories).

Once again, I’m going to interrupt my strict linear progression to deal with ongoing concerns. Throughout the book, David Brin and Matthew Stover stage mock courtroom scenes in which they cross-examine the witnesses. These can occasionally be enlightening additions. For example, when dealing with movies, John Hemry introduced facts in his cross-examination that he had left out of his main article. They can also be cathartic releases as the editors will voice the same complaints about an article as I was harboring. Yet, more often than not, they’re a letdown.

David Brin spends too much time going back to his opening argument rather than dealing with the individual charges. He apparently agrees with the claim of Karl Marx that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” He sees ancient civilization as the oppression of the lower classes, ancient religion as the legitimizing influence which props up the oppressors and ancient literature as the propaganda of the status quo. He declares science fiction to be the only genre that dares to question the status quo. It’s the genre of progress, the genre of the Enlightenment, the genre of democracy. Unfortunately, the repeated arguments tell us more about Brin’s obsessions than they do about science fiction. He forgets that William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were imprisoned for challenging royal authority in their comedies. He is perhaps unaware that Philip Pullman has shown that fantasy can also challenge religious dogma in “The Golden Compass.” And he ignores the sequence of history in which the Enlightenment preceded and prompted science fiction instead of vice versa. I disagreed with those claims when Brin made them in his opening arguments. I’ve become annoyed by those claims as Brin repeatedly makes them in cross-examinations about entirely different matters.

Witness for the Prosecution

Star Wars as Anime by Bruce Bethke

Bethke basically argues that Star Wars is neither science fiction nor fantasy. Rather, it is Japanese anime. Any inconsistencies can be explained by that influence and shared sense of storytelling. I’ll admit it’s new. I’ve known of Lucas’ myriad influences before, including the Japanese director Kurosawa, but I’ve never heard Star Wars called anime before. Bethke hits upon a few convincing kernels. Lucas’ penchant for using digital imaging instead of real environments is one of them. But the argument doesn’t completely hold together, especially when he holds up Ray Harryhausen as the positive alternative. I’m sorry, but while I agree that Lucas relies on digital imagery too much (why make Palpatine’s opera box out of a green screen instead of building him an actual chair?), Lucas’ digital imagery still looks more real than Harryhausen’s clay animation.

Witness for the Defense

The Joy of Star Wars by Adam Roberts

Whew! After consecutive poor showings by the defense, I was getting a little nervous. But Roberts flies in to save the day with the best article since Bruce Bethke wrote about hope (yes, Bethke took the stand for both the defense and the prosecution at separate points). Star Wars is about joy! The reason why so many people write parodies of Star Wars- including Eddie Izzard’s excellent Death Star cafeteria comedy sketch (warning -- language)- is that so many people love Star Wars.

The parodies are a form of respect. After all, as Roberts argues, nobody’s writing parodies of Battlefield: Earth. And the reason why so many people love Star Wars is that Star Wars is a comedy in the classic sense. Not in the modern sense of a story that makes you laugh. But in the classic, Greek, Roman and Shakespearean sense in that the ending is uplifting and good prevails. For Roberts, the question of whether Star Wars is science fiction or fantasy is irrelevant. It’s neither. It’s comedy. It’s hope and joy and happiness. And that’s a good thing.

Charge #7: Women in Star Wars are Portrayed as Fundamentally Weak

Witness for the Prosecution

Stop Her, She’s Got a Gun! How the Rebel Princess and the Virgin Queen Became Marginalized and Powerless in George Lucas’ Fairy Tale by Jeanne Cavelos

What can I say but “I agree.” I think Cavelos overstates her case a little at times, but on the whole, I agree. Matthew Stover puts up a valiant effort in the cross-examination, citing the number of young girls who were inspired to become heroes. However, Cavelos answers effectively: it’s not the first movie that’s the problem. It’s the subsequent movies in which Leia is slowly shifted to the sidelines. That argument pretty much undercuts the defense before it even begins.

Witness for the Defense

Fighting Princesses and Other Distressing Damsels by Bill Spangler

As I just said, the defense lost the argument before it even began. Bill Spangler does a decent job of defending the depiction of Princess Leia. However, his argument stands on two main pieces of evidence: the first movie, and the later novels of the Expanded Universe. But those entries prove the prosecution’s case, not the defense. Leia started out strong in the first movie only to see her role reduced as the series progressed (with a similar fate befalling Amidala in the prequels) and she needed the later novels to rehabilitate her character as a major diplomat and a Jedi-in-waiting. As Spangler notes, it took 35 years (in book chronology) for it to happen but it did happen. I can imagine Cavelos’ argument: that’s way too late to be of much credit.

Charge #8: The Plot Holes and Logical Gaps in Star Wars Make it Ill-Suited for an Intelligent Viewer

Witness for the Prosecution

Laziness Leads to Sloth, Sloth to Stupidity, and Stupidity to the Dark Side of the Force by Nick Mamatas

I thought that the prosecution had offered some poor arguments earlier but they saved the worst for last. It’s not that Star Wars doesn’t have plot holes. It does. And you could write a pretty good article enumerating the contradictions and inconsistencies that have accumulated over six movies, as well as those present in any one individual movie. The problem is that Nick Mamatas doesn’t write that article. He doesn’t even confine himself to the specific charge regarding plot holes. Rather, he seems to pursue all eight charges simultaneously while throwing in a few extra of his own. He plays the charlatan’s game of mentioning a flaw by saying that he won’t mention it (such as the wooden acting) and that breaks his own promise by mentioning it later anyway. He accuses Star Wars of being not just a bad influence on subsequent science fiction films, but of single-handedly bringing an end to the “Golden Age of ‘70s cinema.” He goes after Star Wars for bad novels, cheap toys, bad dialogue, bad science and bad messages. The cumulative effect is that the article comes off as an unrelenting rant from an unhinged mind. The only comfort is that its nice to know professional writers can be as irrational as fans.

Witness for the Defense

Star Wars Versus Science by Don DeBrandt

The defense has had some pretty good articles (and some admittedly bad ones as well), and this last one ranks as one of the best. My favorites have been those that spoke of Star Wars in terms of hope and joy. This time, Don DeBrandt speaks of Star Wars in terms of imagination. He brings in such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso as co-defendants. Einstein has said, “Imagination is more important than intelligence.” Star Wars should be applauded for its imagination and for sparking the imaginations of millions of people young and old around the world. The arguments offered by David Brin, Lou Anders and Nick Mamantas would have strangled all of the imagination out of the movies, not to mention the hope, the joy and the fun. Their suggestions would have made the movies dry and dismal. Picasso said, “Computers are useless. They only give you answers.” Ken Wharton had said that science fiction was the literature of the question “Why?” Picasso suggests that the asking of the question is more important than the answer. DeBrandt reminds us that “What if?” is as important a question as “Why?”

And that brings us close to the end. First, David Brin and Matthew Stover get to offer their closing arguments. Despite my many earlier complaints about David Brin, I was very happy with his closing argument. For one thing, I agree with him that an intellectual argument of this sort can be, well, fun. It’s stimulating to exercise the mind. It’s invigorating to engage in spirited debate. It may not seem like it because of the number of criticisms I’ve made but even when I was disagreeing with an argument that was being made, I enjoyed reading this book. For another thing, I agreed with the aim he claimed for himself at the end. Brin states that he isn’t offering these criticisms as a way of picking on Star Wars. Rather, he’s offering them as a challenge to other writers and filmmakers to be even better. Instead of crafting pale imitations of Star Wars, why not try to improve upon it? Why not offer a world with a cogent religious and political system? A universe that coheres more closely to the rules of science? A story free from plot holes? I think we’ve seen that kind of progression in science fiction as a whole. Star Trek offered space warfare that was modeled on the naval battles on the sea. Somebody criticized that—space battles would be in three dimensions, not two. Star Wars, then, offered space warfare that was three dimensional, based more on aerial battles than naval ones. Somebody criticized that, as well. Along came Babylon 5 with space craft that acted like space craft instead of fighter planes. And that’s something I can agree with.

In comparison, Matthew Stover’s closing argument wasn’t nearly as strong. He rationalizes his ad hominem attacks on the prosecution witnesses as an intentional strategy. The idea was that he wanted to show that his opponents were a bunch of no-fun frowners while those defending Star Wars were a bunch of fun-loving free spirits. And wouldn’t you rather be on the side of fun? I would agree with the underlying premise. I would certainly prefer to side with the party of hope, joy, imagination and fun. And I would certainly prefer not to be associated with the grumblers, complainers and nit-pickers of the prosecution. But the articles did a better job of demonstrating that point much more eloquently than Stover’s cross-examinations. They made his side look dumb- and I’d rather be on the side that is both smart and fun- and elicited sympathy for the very people he was trying to make bad.

In the end, I agree with the final statements of both editors. David Brin’s last words were “We want more.” Personally, I want more Star Wars- more movies, more cartoons, more novels, more comic books. But I would also consent to more science fiction that is even better than Star Wars. Matthew Stover’s last words were “Come out and play.” And who can argue with that?

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